cover image Double Identity

Double Identity

Margaret Peterson Haddix, . . S&S, $15.95 (218pp) ISBN 978-0-689-87374-4

Haddix (the Shadow Children series) releases another suspenseful pageturner here narrated by Bethany Cole. As the novel opens, Bethany is anxious; her father has barely let her out of his sight and her mother has been weeping for months. Now, a few days before her 13th birthday, her father has put the two of them in the car, headed West. He leaves Bethany with her Aunt Myrlie and drives off with no explanation. The only clue Bethany has is what she heard her father say to her aunt, "She doesn't know anything about Elizabeth." Bethany is determined to learn why she has been left with an aunt she never knew existed, and what the mysterious Elizabeth has to do with it all. Later, Bethany appears to be in danger from a stalker—perhaps she is not the only one searching for answers. Haddix conveys Bethany's dismay and fear through believable dialogue and thoughts—the girl's growing awareness of uncanny similarities between herself and Elizabeth (their love of Froot Loops and tough vocabulary words)—and believably charts the heroine's slow warming to her aunt and cousin. Bethany's gradual feelings of anger and resentment towards her parents are particularly poignant. Haddix's timely novel raises provocative issues about what makes an individual unique, with both compassion and clarity. Ages 10-14. (Oct.)